Black Bean Potato Cakes with Walnut Panko Crust and Lime Cream

DSC_0273I don’t understand the misconception that eating vegan is difficult.  For me, it is so simple and such a pleasure.  I never have to worry anymore about defrosting meat or even just having it sit on my counter getting e coli and hosts of other bacteria all over everything.  I don’t have to worry that if I don’t cook my food enough to kill those same bacteria we will get sick.  I don’t even have to wash my hands while I am cooking.  Everything is clean and fresh.  I really never liked cooking when I used meat.  I would have the anti-bacterial spray ready and I would gag a little when trimming fat and touching raw meat.  So for me, cooking vegan is fun.  Take the other night, for instance.  I wanted to make something different for dinner, so I grabbed a few ingredients that were already in my pantry, and voila – this is what resulted.  My whole family enjoyed it, which is great because it was very easy to make and was a perfect dinner with a salad and some sauteed greens.  The lime cream was so yummy that I am already thinking of the many things I can top with it.  You will have to decide how zesty you like it.  If you love lime like I do, use the whole 1/2 t zest.  I hope you enjoy making and eating these as much as I did!
  • 1/4 c whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c panko crumbs
  • 1/2 c ground walnuts
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 14.5 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 vegan bouillon cube
  • 1 1/2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 T ground flax seed mixed with 3 T water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T energ egg replacer
  • 1/2 t dijon mustard
  • lime slices for garnish

for the lime cream

  • 1/4 c vegan sour cream
  • 1 t lime juice
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 t lime zest

Combine all ingredients, cover and place in fridge while preparing rest.


Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes.

Heat 1 T oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Saute the onions until translucent.  Add the garlic and the bouillon and cook for 2 minutes more stirring well.  Set aside.


In a large bowl, mash the beans and the potatoes.  Add the flax mix and the onions.  Stir in the breadcrumbs.


Form into 7 patties.

In a small bowl, combine the energ egg replacer with 1/4 c warm water and then add the dijon mustard.

In another small bowl, combine the panko and the walnuts.

Dip each patty into the egg replacer mix and then into the panko walnut mix.



Saute patties in remaining oil over medium high heat until golden, about 5 minutes per side.

Top with lime cream and garnish with lime slices.


Spaghetti and Neatballs

DSC_0368What an easy, healthy and satisfying meal!  While there are a lot of varieties of frozen vegan meatballs out there, and some are pretty good, I much prefer to make my own.  I think they taste better and I love knowing that they are not processed, but instead are homemade with only whole-food ingredients.  They are a cinch to make too – just throw all the ingredients in a food processor and then roll and bake.  I love to serve this meal to our meat-eater friends when they come over because it really shows how easy and delicious it is to be vegan.  People who love those gruesome meatballs made from animals will see that they can have them cruelty-free and also do their health a huge favor at the same time!  Spaghetti and neatballs, caesar salad and garlic crostinis – a meal everyone will love!  And although the recipe makes quite a bit, it’s great because the neatballs are even better cold the next day in a sandwich!


  • 1 lb spaghetti, cooked according to package and drained
  • 1 25 oz. jar marinara sauce
  • 1/2 c walnuts
  • 1/2 c cooked brown rice
  • 15 oz. black beans, drained
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 T ground flax seed mixed with 5 T water
  • 1 t vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 t liquid smoke
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • vegan parmesan optional


Preheat oven to 350.

Grind walnuts in food processor.  Add all remaining ingredients, except bread crumbs.  Process well.  Spoon into a bowl and stir in crumbs.


Roll into about 25 “meatballs” and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.


Bake 25 minutes.

Combine the cooked spaghetti and the marinara sauce in a large pot over medium heat.  Gently add the neatballs and heat through.


Serves 6-8




Millet, Lentil and Potato Mash

DSC_0365I have been having fun learning about and cooking with the many wonderful ancient whole grains that are thankfully becoming more common, such as amaranth and quinoa.  For this recipe, however, I am focusing on millet.  I have had millet flour in my pantry for some time and often substitute it for flour in my baking, but I had never cooked hulled millet until now – and I am so glad I did.  This dish is the perfect comfort food.  It is creamy and delicious and way more interesting than plain old mashed potatoes.  Before I give you the recipe – here’s some information about the very under-appreciated millet:

First, millet is gluten-free.  Second, millet is rich in B vitamins (especially niacin, B6 and folic acid), calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.  Third, millet should be included on your list of heart-healthy choices because of its status as a good source of magnesium.  Magnesium has been shown to reduce the severity of asthma, reduce the frequency of migraines, lower high blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart attack.  Fourth, we all know that a diet rich in fiber from whole grains offers significant protection against many cancers.  Whole grains such as millet also contain many powerful phytonutrients whose activity has gone unrecognized because research methods have overlooked them.  There are many more reasons to eat millet.  Just google it and you will see.  Despite all our knowledge and advances, the ancients definitely consumed way better grains than we do today.  I love millet and can’t wait to create more recipes with it!  I hope you find this one as comforting and yummy as my family and I do.  While there are many steps to this recipe, it shouldn’t take that much time to make – as long as you can use three burners at once.

  • 1 head garlic
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 c millet, rinsed
  • 4 1/2 c vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 c lentils
  • 1 c raw cashews (if you do not have a high speed blender, soak the cashews in water overnight and drain).
  • 1/2 c marsala wine
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t fresh thyme
  • 1/4 t dried marjoram
  • 1/2 t dijon mustard

Cut off the tip of the garlic to expose the top of the cloves and then rub with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt, wrap in aluminum foil, and roast at 400 for 35 minutes.  Let cool.

Emptied roasted garlic head is pretty as a flower!

Emptied roasted garlic head is pretty as a flower!

Boil the potatoes in water for about 15 minutes, until soft.  Drain and set aside.


Place the millet and 2 1/2 c stock in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.  Let stand, covered, 10 minutes off the heat.


In another saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c stock to a boil.  Then add the lentils and simmer, partially covered, 35 – 40 minutes.


While the potatoes, millet and lentils are cooking, begin making the sauce.

Blend the cashews with 3/4 c water until creamy.  Add in the roasted garlic and blend again.  Spoon into a medium sized bowl.


In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 c stock and marsala wine to a boil.    Boil for 5 minutes to burn out the alcohol.  While it is cooking, add the salt, thyme and marjoram.  Add 1/4 c + 2 T of this liquid to the cashew cream mixture.  Mix well.  Add mustard and the rest of the liquid and mix again.


In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, millet and lentils.  Add as much of the cream sauce as desired and stir to combine.  I usually have some extra cream sauce that is wonderful on just about anything, from pasta, to fresh vegetables.

serves 6-8 as an entree and 10-12 as a side dish



Puff Pastry Tempeh with Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

I found the most beautiful raspberries at the farmers’ market and could not wait to use them.  Of course I love to pop them in my mouth just as they are, but I wanted to create a savory recipe with them as well.  I think the freshness of the raspberries really elevates the taste of this dish, but you could certainly use frozen raspberries instead.   The tempeh is the perfect texture for the puff pastry.  It has just the right amount of substance and the marinade flavors it so nicely.
This dish is perfect for company as it looks quite elegant, yet it is also easy enough to make for dinner just any old night of the week.  Actually, sometimes I forget about the puff pastry and just marinate the tempeh and heat it in a frying pan with a teaspoon of oil, and it is an easy and very tasty meal.
If using the puff pastry, just make sure to check that it is vegan (most frozen packaged puff pastry brands are).  As for the raspberry balsamic reduction, it is really delicious and the perfect complement to this dish.  The yield of this recipe is somewhat large – 12 squares, so you can cut the recipe in half or you can freeze the leftovers.  I like to make the whole recipe and freeze half for another time.  Two meals for the time investment of one – that’s something I always love!
You will need:
  • 1 17 oz package vegan puff pastry sheets
  • 2 8 oz packages tempeh
  • 3 T dijon mustard
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 3 T vegetable broth
  • 3/4 t garlic powder
  • 3/4 t onion powder
  • 3/8 t dried thyme

Remove the pastry sheets from the packaging and defrost for 40 minutes.

Cut each tempeh block into 3 squares and then cut each square in half width-wise to make them thinner.  You will have 12 thin squares.


Whisk all ingredients except pastry sheets and tempeh in a shallow bowl.  Add the tempeh squares and let marinate for 30 minutes, flipping after 15.


Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Roll out the pastry sheets a few times to enlarge a bit.  Cut into 12 squares (6 squares per sheet).  Place a tempeh square in the center of each pastry square and top with a teaspoon or so of marinade.


Fold the corners over, then place on baking sheet, seam side down.


Bake 20 minutes, or until golden.



serves 12

Raspberry Balsamic Reduction


  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 t maple syrup
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c vegetable stock
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T+ 1 t fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 t dried

Place raspberries and maple syrup in food processor and process.  Pour into a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat for 2 minutes.  Add stock, balsamic vinegar, salt and thyme.  Bring to a low boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly as it thickens.  You can strain it if you prefer not to have the seeds.

Rice and Beans Stack

rice cakeI make rice and beans all the time.  Usually I use either Indian spices or Mexican spices and it always tastes great.  You just can’t ruin rice and beans.  Tonight, however, I wanted to try something different, both in taste and in presentation.  I wanted to elevate rice and beans to a new level, because as good as it is, you have to admit, it is not the most visually appealing meal.  Until now, that is!  I added some refried beans so it would have a creamy texture and could be molded into a pleasing shape.  What took me only a few extra minutes of time made the meal infinitely better!  Maybe next time I will try layering grilled veggies in the middle… so many great ideas for the old standy-by of rice and beans!

  • 2 15 oz cans beans, drained (I used one can pinto and one can kidney)
  • 1/2 15 oz can refried beans (I used Whole Foods organic refried black beans)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 vegan “beef” bouillon (I used edward and son’s “not beef”)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 5 cups cooked rice (white or brown)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Add the bouillon cube and stir well as it melts into the onions.  Add the refried beans and stir to combine.  Add the beans and gently mix together.


Cook until heated through.  In a large bowl, combine the rice with the bean mixture.  Press into any shape object you like.  I used ramekins.  Then just turn it out onto your plate.

Serves 6